Monday, January 30, 2017

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee

Across my country, from east to west and from north to south, Canadian flags flew at half mast today in honour of the six men needlessly murdered in Quebec City. They were gathered with others in their mosque when a young man, another Canadian, shot several of them, killing six of them, and wounding others, at random, during their time of prayer.

There is no logic in this. There is no understandable reason for this.

I can only send out as much love, of which I have much to offer, and understanding, of which I have much as I can, to the families and friends of the victims.

I am sharing this with Our World Tuesday

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The smile that won our hearts

This is the photo we fell in love with, when we first checked out the web page for SOS Senior Dog Rescue here in Medicine Hat.
She looked perfect!
Immediately, my husband and I found out where she was being fostered, so we piled into the car, along with with his daughter and our little granddaughter.
We had the address and we hightailed it out there in case someone else got there first.
They had her all tidied up and looking good when we arrived. "Oo," one of us said. "Awwww," said another, and "ohhh!"
"There's the dog for us," we all agreed.
I went into the enclosure to meet her first, elected because I have a long history of dog ownership. She was very nice to me.
Our granddaughter and her mom joined us, and our prospective dog was very nice to them, as well.
Then my husband came in. Well, darned if that dog didn't stand up on her hind legs, put her paws on his chest, and gaze into his eyes.
He was a goner. "We'll take her," we said.
But first, my husband and I had to be interviewed, our house had to be checked, and many answers were demanded of us, including "Where will the dog sleep?" We looked at one another blankly because we hadn't thought that far.
"Will she sleep on the bed with you?"
 Apparently it is a good idea, in some circles, to invite a large dog onto the bed.
We definitely earned demerit points for that one.
"Oh, no," we replied, "but she can sleep beside the bed."
(As it turned out, she wasn't interested in sleeping on a bed with either or both of us. But I digress.)
We all but had to be fingerprinted before we were declared fit for dog ownership, and maybe, for all I know, they had checked us out at the local RCMP detachment.
Finally, we passed the ownership test. But there was a catch...they had named her Lily, and we said we'd have to change that because our next door neighbours had a dog named Lily. We settled on Lindy (named for our then-favourite baseball player in Toronto) and finally brought her home.
What happened next is another story, and will have to wait until my next Our World post because Lindy is wurffling at's time for us to go into the living room. I'm to watch TV while she sleeps on my feet.
Sharing with Lady Fi's wonderful meme "Our World Tuesday."

Monday, January 16, 2017

Once upon a snowy time

When Lindy first came to live with us, we discovered how much she loved going for walks in the snow.

Oops, the snow is too deep. With a little bit of help from her daddy, she dug herself out of this hole in the snow, none the worse for wear.

"Hmm, I really should go home, maybe they'll feed me."

Lindy and I are sharing these photos with Lady Fi's wonderful meme
Our World Tuesday.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Still just posting Lindy pix

Until I'm sure Blogger and my computer are getting along well together, I'm just going to post Lindy pictures and not bother trying to write anything original, poetic, or exciting.
Of course, we thought this picture was exciting because her foster mom was getting her all spiffed up to come home with us. Her foster mother had already visited us to make sure we could pass the adopt-a-dog test.
She asked a lot of questions, and checked out our house and yard before giving us a silver star rating. We didn't get a gold star because we answered "no" when asked if the dog would sleep on our bed with us.
We were rated "okay" otherwise.

Even before she came home with us,
it was evident Lindy would be a Daddy's Girl, and she is.

Photo, Kay Davies, September, 2009

For now, until Blogger shows itself to be behaving properly,
Lindy's mom will continue to post Lindy Pix.

Monday, January 9, 2017


I am having a terrible time with Blogger, so I'm not going to bother writing anything. I'll just post photos of Lindy for a while.

A young Lindy enjoying the lawn near the local swimming pool.

Young Lindy sleeping on her own spot.

And, below, Lindy now, sleeping on the couch. And sharing these wonderful photos on Lady Fi's Our World Tuesday meme.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

"hear my old hound dog barking"

I've always been a Creedence Clearwater Revival fan, and I particularly like CCR's John Fogerty, but this blog post isn't about him or them, or Fogerty's Born on the Bayou song...

It's about me, and our dog Lindy, who is old alright, but isn't a hound dog.
My husband doesn't like to wake up during the night, because he can't get back to sleep, but I can. I've had trouble getting to sleep at bedtime, but, once asleep, I can drift off again easily.
For instance, if Lindy barks to go out at midnight, I can get out of bed, let her out the living room door, then lie down on the couch and go back to sleep.
When she scratches at the door to come in, I get up, let her in, wipe her paws (even if they don't need it because that's part of her ritual, and you know how dogs love ritual) then I go back to bed and go to sleep.
Recently, I began hearing Lindy bark once, because that's her signal for "I want out" but, when I get up to let her out, she's sound asleep.
I, obviously, am not.
When this happens, I don't go back to sleep right away because I'm puzzled. I was sure I heard her, and leapt out of bed with more alacrity than usual.
After this mystery had occurred several (or 'more than several' times, to quote Damon Runyon whom I loved long before I'd even heard of John Fogerty) ...but I digress... after I'd hallucinated Lindy barking more than several times, I talked it over with my husband who, wisely (because he's the wise guy around here) asked me if my medications had changed. (He never remembers.)
I said "Not really but, if you remember, the doctor did tell me to take melatonin at bedtime because I have trouble getting to sleep when I first go to bed. But it's not really a medication, just a sleep aid."
Well, we decided that had nothing to do with anything else because, if the doctor said melatonin is not a drug per se, then it wasn't a drug at all.
Being able to fall asleep soon after retiring is wonderful, as far as I'm concerned. Also, I've retained my ability to get up, let the dog out, sleep on the couch until she scratches at the door, wake up, let her in, etc. and go back to bed and go back to sleep.
So, we left the discussion at that, and time went on.

My husband
But, time didn't go on very long before I would once again awaken abruptly, certain I heard a summons from Lindy. And, also once again, I'd find her sound asleep.
I told myself it was an auditory hallucination, and I didn't worry because I didn't think such things existed.
Then I checked up on auditory hallucinations...
Turns out they do exist.
Turns out, too, that hallucinations can be caused by melatonin.
Who knew?
Very scary.
Is it a good idea, then, just to be able to fall asleep more readily? Well, in this one insomniac's opinion, yes.
So far.
If I start sleep-walking and find myself wading through the snow barefoot, I just might change my mind.
Meanwhile, I still love John Fogerty, Damon Runyon, and my husband. Not necessarily in that order.
And I leave you with this mystery, followed by a gratuitous photo of Lindy sleeping.
I'm sorry if this post frightened anyone. It was meant to be fun but I can see how it could be scary.
I'll be sharing a different post with Lady Fi's wonderful meme, Our World Tuesday. Do check it out. Other Tuesdayers aren't nearly as verbose as I am, and their photos are more scenic, except for the one of my husband, above, which was taken in Bora Bora.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

I get political, with help

Noam Chomsky

I am linking
this post to
Our World Tuesday

The following are excerpts from C.J. Polychroniou’s interview with noted American philosopher Noam Chomsky, linguist, philosopher, and cognitive scientist, born in Oak Lane, Pennsylvania, in 1928.

Note: I have inserted occasional parenthetic phrases myself, usually for clarity, or perhaps emphasis. It is not my intention to play fast and loose with the contents of this interview. —KLD

C. J. Polychroniou is a Research Associate and Policy Fellow at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College (USA) and an interviewer and columnist for the nationally distributed Greek newspaper The Sunday Eleftherotypia. He is the author or editor of five books and scores of academic and popular articles. 

Polychroniou: "Some years ago, public intellectual Noam Chomsky warned that the political climate in the U.S. was ripe for the rise of an authoritarian figure. Now, he shares his thoughts on the aftermath of this election, the moribund state of the U.S. political system, and why Trump is a real threat to the world and the planet in general."
Q: Following the U.S. election on November 8, Polychroniu asked Chomsky these questions: 
“What exactly does Trump's victory mean and what can one expect from this megalomaniac when he takes over the reins of power on Jan. 20, 2017? What is Trump's political ideology, if any and is "Trumpism" a movement? Will U.S. foreign policy be any different under a Trump administration?

Q: With all the talk (in the US) of near-full employment today, labor force participation remains below the earlier norm. And for working people, there is a great difference between a steady job in manufacturing with union wages and benefits, as in earlier years and a temporary job with little security in some service profession. Apart from wages, benefits and security, there is a loss of dignity, of hope for the future, (and loss) of a sense that this is a world in which I (as an individual) belong and play a worthwhile role.
The "change" that Trump is likely to bring will be harmful or worse, but it is understandable that the consequences are not clear to isolated people in an atomized society lacking the kinds of associations (like unions) that can educate and organize.

(On the question of science:)
One of the difficulties in raising public concern over the very severe threats of global warming is that 40 percent of the U.S. population does not see why it is a problem, since “Christ is returning in a few decades.” About the same percentage believe that the world was created a few thousand years ago. If science conflicts with the Bible, so much the worse for science.

Q.  Noam, the unthinkable has happened: In contrast to all forecasts, Donald Trump scored a decisive victory over Hillary Clinton, and the man that Michael Moore described as a "wretched, ignorant, dangerous part-time clown and full-time sociopath" will be the next president of the U.S. In your view, what were the deciding factors that led American voters to produce the biggest upset in the history of U.S. politics?
A. Noam Chomsky:
Before turning to this question, I think it is important to spend a few moments pondering just what happened on Nov. 8, a date that might turn out to be one of the most important in human history, depending on how we react.
On Nov. 8, the most powerful country in world history, which will set its stamp on what comes next, had an election. The outcome placed total control of the government—executive, Congress, the Supreme Court—in the hands of the Republican Party, which has become the most dangerous organization in world history. The party is dedicated to racing as rapidly as possible to destruction of organized human life. There is no historical precedent for such a stand.

"No exaggeration," said Chomsky.

The most important news of Nov. 8 was barely noted, a fact of some significance in itself.
(Because, on Nov. 8) the World Meteorological Organization —WMO— delivered a report at the international conference on climate change in Morocco (COP22) which was called in order to carry forward the Paris agreement of COP21. The WMO reported that the past five years were the hottest on record. It reported rising sea levels, soon to increase as a result of the unexpectedly rapid melting of polar ice, most ominously the huge Antarctic glaciers. Already, Arctic sea ice over the past five years is 28 percent below the average of the previous 29 years, not only raising sea levels, but also reducing the cooling effect of polar ice reflection of solar rays, thereby accelerating the grim effects of global warming. The WMO reported further that temperatures are approaching dangerously close to the goal established by COP21, along with other dire reports and forecasts.
During the Republican primaries, every candidate denied that what is happening is happening—with the exception of the sensible moderates, like Jeb Bush, who said “It's all uncertain, but we don't have to do anything because we're producing more natural gas, thanks to fracking.” Or John Kasich, who agreed that global warming is taking place, but added that "we are going to burn [coal] in Ohio and we are not going to apologize for it."
(KLD—Fracking? My mind boggles. These are elected representatives whose decisions will affect the whole world, most likely the US first and Canada next.)
The president-elect calls for rapid increase in use of fossil fuels, including coal; dismantling of regulations; rejection of help to developing countries that are seeking to move to sustainable energy; and in general, racing to the cliff as fast as possible.

Trump has already taken steps to dismantle the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by placing in charge of the EPA transition a notorious (and proud) climate change denier, Myron Ebell. Trump's top adviser on energy, billionaire oil executive Harold Hamm, announced his expectations, which were predictable: dismantling regulations, tax cuts for the industry (and the wealthy and corporate sector generally), more fossil fuel production, lifting (President) Obama's temporary block on the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Effects (of global warming) may soon become even more vividly apparent than they already are.
In Bangladesh alone, tens of millions are expected to have to flee from low-lying plains in coming years because of sea level rise and more severe weather, creating a migrant crisis that will make today's pale in significance.
With considerable justice, Bangladesh's leading climate scientist said that "These migrants should have the right to move to the countries from which all these greenhouse gases are coming. Millions should be able to go to the United States." (And go to all the) other rich countries, that have grown wealthy while bringing about a new geological era, the Anthropocene, marked by radical human transformation of the environment.

These catastrophic consequences can only increase, not just in Bangladesh, but in all of South Asia,Effects may soon become even more vividly apparent than they already are. In Bangladesh alone, tens of millions are expected to have to flee from low-lying plains in coming years because of sea level rise and more severe weather, creating a migrant crisis that will make today's pale in significance.

These catastrophic consequences can only increase, not just in Bangladesh, but in all of South Asia as temperatures, already intolerable for the poor, inexorably rise and the Himalayan glaciers melt, threatening the entire water supply.
Already in India, some 300 million people are reported to lack adequate drinking water. And the effects will reach far beyond. as temperatures, already intolerable for the poor, inexorably rise and the Himalayan glaciers melt, threatening the entire water supply. Already in India, some 300 million people are reported to lack adequate drinking water. And the effects will reach far beyond.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Resolutionarily speaking

Linking with Our World Tuesday

 Photo by Daniel J. Cook for Parks Canada

But first, the answers to my little quiz about endangered animals in Jasper National Park.
Yamini got them all right. How is that possible, Yam? I know you have lived in Scotland, Australia, and India...but you know western North American wildlife? Really? You amaze me, my dear friend.
Yes, the first photo was of a mama Grizzly and her cub. No one wants to get in between those two bears. (Or any two bears, actually.)
Then came the wolverine, pictured above— pound for pound one of the fiercest fighters on the planet.
Photo: Donald M. Jones for Parks Canada
Then came a pretty white-tailed deer followed by, yes, the woodland caribou seen here.

And my dear but not Canadian friend Yam got all the answers.
I'm going to have to give up the quiz biz.

So it's back to the recently-dawned year, and I've given some consideration to the making of resolutions in this new year. I'm only a few days late in the doing of it, and have succeeded in confusing my foolish, elderly self about which of my character defects require resolution in 2017.

I do know that, here at home, where I live with Lindy and Lindy's daddy, I do resolve to be more cheerful.

Some people may find it hard to believe, but I remember when I was still living in BC, someone accused me of being "too damn cheerful." I thought it was hilarious.
I was no longer young at that time, and nor was I healthy, but I still loved living, and was grateful to be able to do it.

Now, fast forward 15 or 20 years, and some of the thrill has gone out of fighting chronic illnesses.
I'm still grateful, and sometimes still surprised, that I was able, after years of struggling, to thwart osteoporosis and ulcerative colitis: two worthy, nasty foes. I'm glad to be without them. When I walk out in winter (I'm living in Alberta now) I'm still not a fan of falling, but I no longer have to worry about my bones shattering if I slip on icy ground.
Nor do I now need to have my blood monitored because I'd been losing so much of it for so many years.
Today, in 2017, I'm still thrilled that those two plagues: osteoporosis and ulcerative colitis, are gone, and I hope never to experience either of them again, but there still remains that third enemy...which many medical practitioners, and pretty much all government pension departments, refused to recognize when it first hit me in the 1980s: Fibromyalgia.
The word fibromyalgia means musculoskeletal pain everywhere in the body... all the parts, sometimes one or two at a time, and often all of them together...yes, sometimes seriously a pain in the butt.
I laud all other women and men who fought to get fibromyalgia recognized as a very real, very debilitating, often disabling illness. I applaud them, and I thank them, as well.
In the 1980s, backed by the late, great International Typographical Union, I managed to plead the existence of my fibromyalgia before a judge. I'm glad I was able, also with the union's help, to fight the loss of my job to this awful illness. Recognition of fibromyalgia was immediately extended to other members of the union as well. Gotta love that ITU. Some union members, fighting disabilities and knowing what I'd achieved, phoned to thank me.
Thus I was, in turn, able to be a small part of the great fight to have fibromyalgia recognized by Canada's federal government disability pension department.

Having, some time earlier, been forced to sell my house in order to live on the proceeds, I finally had—on the basis of three disabilities—a federal pension income on which to live. To that end, pardon the pun, I had had to prove ulcerative colitis and osteoporosis, as well as fibromyalgia, on my list of disabilities before the feds would agree I was actually ill.
Total: three illnesses, each devastating in one way or another.

At the time, my federal Member of Parliament in White Rock/South Surrey, BC, was one of my former college profs: Benno Friesen. We had mutual friends, and took the opportunity to visit whenever we met. Benno, too, was instrumental in my fight for a federal disability pension, offering me whatever facilities his local office could provide.

For my pension, and more, I am forever grateful to the men and women of the the old ITU. I am still receiving a small a pension from the union, too, because continuation of the pension was considered non-negotiable when that grand old union dissolved due to technological change. Remaining ITU printers are now members of the Communications Workers of America.

I do digress. I started off with quiz results, continued with resolutions for the new year, and wound up being grateful for my pensions.
However, I now have my list of things for which I will try to be thankful in 2017. Bring it on, world. I'm ready (I think) to do battle again.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Anybody know these guys?

This game is rather like Name That Tune, only different because there's no music.

I have to wonder what effect the twinning of an oil pipeline crossing the Rocky Mountains via Jasper National Park will have on the critters below. These are species at risk in Jasper National Park, which is on the route of the Kinder Morgan pipeline about which I raved earlier.
So...who's next to enter that unsavoury category? Several species have already become extinct in the park, with roads and vehicles being the most likely suspects in their extinction.
These below are not yet extinct but are considered "at risk" by Parks Canada.

But back to the quiz:
1. Can you name the critters in the first photo? Besides just "bears" — or do they not have a further name with which biologists classify them?
2. What about the masked fellow with the stand-up hair in the second photo?
3. Or the slim and spritely ungulate in the third?
4. And, last but not least, what about the ones (male and female have the same headgear) in the final photo? They are the most endangered. Some few years ago the last five of them farther south in Banff National Park were killed in an avalanche.
Photos thanks to Parks Canada
and particularly to photographers
Donald M. Jones and Daniel J. Cox.

Happy New Year from here

Well, it is the first day of a new year, and I almost stayed awake to welcome 2017. It is a big year here because Canada will be 150 years old on July 1.

I'm not quite that old.

Our national broadcasting network, the CBC (both television and radio) provided us with plenty of memorabilia in addition to the news last night.

However, it breaks my heart that one of the headline news stories told of yet another attempt at mass murder, this time in the Philippine province of North Cotabato, known as one of the food baskets of the area, with its vast plains and rolling terrain supporting the province's agriculture-based industry.

Meanwhile Syria, long shattered by a most horrific war, has now lost most of its population.

Think about that...what if most of the population of your country was snuffed out? Snuffed out by terrorists, and in many cases  by its own military which, in the process of  fighting the terror, accidentally killed many of its own citizens.

Look out your window. Are you home today celebrating the new year? What if the view outside your window suddenly included tanks, multiple military vehicles, and columns of soldiers...your own as well as an enemy's?

It is difficult, in peaceful countries, to imagine those horrors. Dead babies...and toddlers who died because they couldn't move fast enough to outrun the tanks.

To use a phrase common to my generation, the mind boggles.

Not to be outdone, much of the northern part of North America is fighting a war of a different kind...a peaceful war for a peaceful keep intact our mountains, forests, and plains.

It grieves me that some of my favourite Canadians will be affected negatively, at first, if the pipelines across Alberta and British Columbia are put to rest. There will be a new wave of unemployment, and some people will suffer.

I believe there is a solution. If, instead of giving Kinder Morgan the go-ahead to twin its pipeline across Alberta, across the Rocky Mountains, and across British Columbia to the coast, the federal government (this means you, Justin Trudeau) were to re-train, with pay, the displaced workers from the oil patch. New skills will mean new results.

Now, however, disaster looms. Any coastal waters, anywhere, contain fragile ecosystems which would be devastated by an oil spill, and with all the tanker ships containing Alberta oil through the coast of BC, there is an increased...not somewhat increased, but greatly increased...potential for an oil spill that will devastate all of those ecosystems.

A break in a pipeline could speak doom to Alberta's fertile prairie, also The potential for destruction is not confined to the oceans alone. Food vital to our population, could be affected, and of course rivers on both sides of the Rockies could be polluted. The Rockies themselves could be devastated.

Meanwhile, down at a beach on the BC coast...from the humble clam to the magnificent Orca, and any of the hundreds of species in between, all are in danger from increased oil tanker traffic.

There could be a solution, if the federal government would look at it from a different perspective...if it tried looking forward with a solution, not a problem.